In recent years there has been a vacuum of real political leadership in Europe, especially when it comes to immigration and related policies. Nature abhors a vacuum, so a Turkish wind is now rushing in to occupy the void.
Whenever Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visits Germany, he throws his weight around, complains about Germany’s intolerance towards its Turkish minority, demands new privileges for Turks, and generally acts like the lord of the German manor.
His most recent visit was even more offensive to the Germans than usual. Many thanks to JLH for translating this report on the topic from Europe News:
The Double Standards of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan
November 4, 2011
Turkish prime minister Erdogan apparently likes to visit Germany to demand more concessions for his compatriots and drag German hospitality through the mud. His latest visit again caused great outrage. He criticized German integration policy, which in his view still expects too much of immigrants, and also criticizes the sluggish negotiations for Turkey’s entry to the EU. Erdogan goes so far as to accuse Germany of human rights abuses because knowledge of German is required of Turks. Incredible effrontery considering the human rights abuses that are ongoing right now in Turkey.
Erdogan further criticizes the German vote against the Palestinians in UNESCO and German “small-minded” calculations relative to Turkish entry to the EU. He demands greater appreciation for the integration of the three million Turks in Germany and exhorts the Germans to become Turkish citizens: “We belong together” says the ambitious prime minister.
Full membership for Turkey is of no interest to the German government at this time, as Chancellor Merkel made clear in September on the occasion of the visit of Turkish president Gül. Again and again the mantra of the “privileged partnership” is evoked, which Turkey is not even considering. “When it is a question of EU membership, the government of the Federal Republic slams the door in the face of an increasingly self-confident Turkey.”
With all his demands, Erdogan seems to have neglected to keep his own house in order. In Kurdish areas of Turkey, it is alleged that Kurdish mayors and other public officials who do not belong to the ruling AKP party are oppressed and even taken into custody. According to the interior ministry, 485 persons were arrested, allegedly because they belong to an extremist part of the Kurdish party. According to human rights organizations, 3,800 people are political prisoners. There is barely any legal action against police and paramilitary organizations even in the case of the most severe violations of human rights. The situation of Turkish women, too, continues to be very precarious. Domestic violence is an everyday occurrence and the perpetrators go mostly unpunished. Christians have not a trace of religious freedom. And Erdogan’s protest against the requirement to learn German is farcical in light of Turkish practice: the Kurdish minority has only been allowed to use its own language since 1991.